MISS ETHEL LOOKER REMEMBERS
Ethel Hilda Looker was born in 1900, and her family had one of the shops in Five Oak Green. A Sunday School teacher at the Congregational Church, she was a well-respected local character, known to all. Such was the regard in which she was held it was Miss Looker who was invited to perform the opening ceremony of the Village Hall.
In an undated, but probably around 1967, newsletter of the Capel Sports & Social Club, she recorded her memories in a short item entitled Capel 60 Years Ago:-
Capel Parish is situated on a part of the Pilgrims' Way and it is said that St. Thomas a Becket rested on the mound at Capel Church. There are now only two of the original five oaks in Five Oak Green - one by the Wheelwrights and the other in the garden of Oak House.
The building on the railway bridge was the old Congregational Church and was rebuilt on its present site in 1908, the foundation stone of which was laid on the 6th of June of that year, and the new Church opened in the October.
The oldest house in the Parish is probably Badsell Manor and legend has it that Queen Elizabeth I slept there. Badsell Manor and Oak Cottage (now called Tudeley House) are two of several sixteenth century buildings, in fact Stream Cottage must also be quite ancient.
In the early days of this century the village boasted three grocer and drapery shops, an off-licence and confectioners, a shoe repair shop, a post office, a blacksmith and wheelwright. In addition to these facilities there were two butchers and the animals, for which, were brought along the road by men called drovers.
On Mondays they delivered the pigs, and very often that was when the fun started, for as they reached the gate, sensing their doom, the pigs would suddenly turn around and run back up the road - and couldn't they run!
There was no playing field as such, but cricket was played on the present field lent by Mrs. W. H. Holman. The Scout Hut was then known as the Institute and a men's club was held every night, when billiards and darts were played.